Mr President, Honourable Members and fellow citizens,
I. Foreword: Striving Ahead
1. Today, I present this Policy Address not only to reiterate my governance philosophy and elaborate on the vision and initiatives of the current-term Government for different policy areas, but also to share with you my experience since I assumed office as the Chief Executive. What I hope to demonstrate in this Policy Address is my ever growing commitment to Hong Kong, my unwavering confidence and my courage to rise to challenges, which will help Hong Kong brave the wind and billows, seize the opportunities and move towards a brighter future.
2. In the past year or so, my political team and I have taken a pragmatic approach to “care”, “listen” and “act” while being “innovative”, “interactive” and “collaborative” in implementing our policy initiatives proactively. From enhancing our position as a financial centre, which includes revision of listing regulations and application of financial technologies (Fintech), to forging ahead the development of innovation and technology (I&T), such as the establishment of I&T clusters on healthcare technologies, artificial intelligence and robotics technologies, the outcomes of our initiatives have been remarkable. All these are testimonies to my belief when I was running for the Chief Executive: “Hong Kong people are outstanding and our foundations are solid. As long as we stand united and remain focused, I have no doubt that we will scale new heights!”
3. My another realisation is that there is no perfect solution in this world and it would be difficult to forge an absolute consensus in the community, yet divergence of views should not become an obstacle to the Government’s leading Hong Kong to make progress and more importantly, it should never bring Hong Kong to a standstill. We have already spent a lot of efforts on many rounds of public consultation, whether on land supply options or abolition of the “offsetting” arrangement under the Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) Scheme. It is high time for us to decide and proceed after discussions; since procrastination will just bring greater sufferings to families living in a poor and overcrowded environment, in particular the children, and to grass-roots workers who need better retirement protection.
4. My third realisation is that we need companions as we “move forward”; the more inclusive the Government is, the more companions it will have. I would not harbour an unrealistic wish that all our political parties or Members of this Council share the same political stance, yet so long as the principle of “One Country” is not compromised, there should be plenty of room for collaboration. A good case in point is the visit by a cross-party delegation to various Mainland cities in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (Greater Bay Area) arranged by the Legislative Council (LegCo) early this year; another example is the approach of “dealing with simple issues before the difficult ones” adopted by the Government in presenting the many funding items to this Council after consultation with legislators of different parties. This has helped reduce confrontation in this Council and contributed to the smooth passage of initiatives that benefit our economy and people’s livelihood.
5. My last realisation is that the Government should act swiftly and boldly on matters which clearly serve the public interest. In this Policy Address, I propose to impose a total ban on electronic cigarettes, strengthen primary healthcare services and provide further resources for research and development (R&D) – all are big strides towards clear objectives.
6. These realisations are derived from my experience in serving as the Chief Executive. While they have added a personal touch to this Policy Address, a majority part of this Policy Address also reflects the views presented to me by LegCo Members and various sectors of the community. I, of course, have to thank my political team and colleagues of various ranks in the civil service for their exemplary dedication and progressive attitude in seeking and embracing change. While the road ahead may not be all smooth and easy, I strongly believe that it will lead to a broad runway for Hong Kong to take off again.